It’s St. Patrick’s Day. A day to celebrate, drinking, drinking, drinking, and drinking. Oh yeah, and being Irish.
But is it really all that? Let’s clear up some misconceptions right here.
Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish, he was born in Britain around A.D. 390. He made his way to Ireland as a kidnapped slave to tend sheep. But it did cause him to find god. Sheep and cold mountain air will do that to a man.
Saint Patrick’s color is blue, not green.
The modern St. Patrick’s Day is an 18th century American invention. It started in cities with large Irish immigrant populations as a way to confirm ethnic identity, create bonds of solidarity, and probably honor the saint. Prior to that, it was a minor holiday in Ireland.
March 17th is the day Saint Patrick died. Which doesn’t seem like much of a reason to celebrate. Should it be on his birthday?
There is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, so probably he’s getting credit for something he didn’t do. Besides, Ireland is too chilly for snakes.
Shamrocks are all over the Emerald Isle, but the Irish symbol is the harp.
As a drinking holiday, it’s a pretty new thing. The pubs in Ireland were closed in observance of the religious feast day up until 1970.
Corned beef and cabbage is about as traditionally Irish as spaghetti and meatballs.
There are actually more Irish people living in the U.S. than in Ireland. 34 million people of Irish descent in the U.S. versus 4.2 million people in Ireland.
Your odds of finding a 4-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000. But given how many might be in a field of clover, that’s probably not too hard to find.
Thanks to Christine Dalton at the Huffington Post for digging all that information up.
Happy St. Patrick’s day.
StPats

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